Ten officers were recently sworn into the department. The 10, sworn in at the Abbeville City Council meeting are Leland Lasater, Elliot Leleux, Trenton Baudoin, Edward Cox, Payton LaPointe, Shane Meaux, Trent Guidry, Daniel Powers, Austin Romero, and James Mouton.
That numbers brings the APD one short of being a full force.
“That puts us at 42,” Abbeville Police Chief Tony Hardy said of the officers. “That’s a good thing.”
Five of the officers, Lasater, Leleux, Baudoin, Cox, Meaux and Powers, are attending the Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy in Lafayette. The process will take 11 weeks. Once completed, the trained officers will be able to patrol alone, something they have not been able to do at this point.
“The officers have been working,” Hardy said. “They have been riding with a trained officer.”
Hardy said it will be an immense help for the department, on many levels.
“It will help big time,” Hardy said. “It will save me a lot of money in overtime (pay).
“And will be closer to full force.”
Whether or not five coming into the force may not be an official record, it is the most Hardy, a long-time lawman, has seen.
“That’s the most I have seen go through the academy for the Abbeville Police Department at one time,” Hardy said. “The most I remember seeing before is three.”
The chief said he would like to see the new officers in it for the long haul.
“Hopefully, they retire here,” Hardy said with a laugh.
The new officers have a while before that would be an option. The members of the new group have youth on their sides, with all of them being in the early 20s.
“They are very young,” Hardy said. “That’s got its good and bad points. The bad points are that they don’t know everything. The good points are that they don’t have a lot of bad habits that they have picked up over time.”
There are veteran officers on the force, some of whom will take leadership roles.
“We have four training officers in school right now,” Hardy said. “They are at a one-week class to get certified.”
The new developments with the force would likely help create some ease in the mind of a chief.
“We’ve got help,” Hardy said, tempering any enthusiasm of how he looks at the new officers.
That is not to say Hardy views them as uniforms being filled.
“You don’t want just warm bodies,” Hardy said. “You want somebody who can actually handle the job.”
Hardy said the new members of the APD fit that bill.
“Oh, yeah,” Hardy said. “The guys we brought and the ones we sent to the academy are good guys.”